In World War 2, there was a group of Scottish soldiers who were taken as prisoners of war to a Japanese concentration camp. In that camp, they met a prisoner who was already there, an American named Dusty. Dusty was a follower of Jesus who lived out the love of Christ in amazing ways. He not only served and shared his food with the other prisoners who were sick, but he was genuinely kind and caring for his captors.
Half of the captured Scottish regiment surrendered to the call of Jesus through Dusty’s example and learned to forgive and love their enemies. The other half followed the leadership of one of their own officers who became more and more consumed by bitterness and anger, all in the name of justice. Eventually this group tried a prison break and failed.
The next day they were brought in front of the entire camp and were being executed one by one.
What is it about spring holidays that are so much fun? Is it the flowers with their beautiful colors…the warm sun…the changing seasons? It’s a breath of fresh air.
Easter is an important spring holiday to celebrate with kids. Easter eggs, jelly beans, and even spring gifts from a bunny can be entertaining. There are so many ways to have all this fun while teaching any kid in your life about Jesus. It may seem scary or uncertain to tell a child about someone dying; especially if that someone is supposed to be their best friend.
However, this is the good news! God let Jesus take the punishment for our sin by dying on the cross and then brought Jesus back to life! So as we get ready for Easter, let’s think about preparing our hearts for celebrating Jesus. Let’s make sure that the kids in our lives know that Easter is so much bigger than the season of spring, colorful Easter eggs, and baskets of candy. Focus on Jesus being alive—not just three days after His death—but the fact that He is alive today.
In late January, I traveled to Honduras with Lifeline Christian Mission to see Lifeline’s Bible Institute in Honduras where they train pastors and church leaders. During this trip, I was also able to see most of Lifeline’s other ministries in Honduras.
My trip began in Tegucigalpa, the capitol of Honduras. I traveled there with two staff from Lifeline and leaders from Marlboro Christian Church in Ohio. Lifeline partners with a church there and is building a bilingual school—this is their newest location in Honduras. They inherited it after a couple missionaries left a handful of years ago. They are making several positive changes as they move the ministry forward.
After Tegucigalpa, we traveled to San Pedro Sula, where Lifeline does the bulk of their work in Honduras. The delegation from Marlboro departed, but we were joined by staff from RiverTree Christian Church in Ohio.
We drove up a muddy mountain on our first day in San Pedro Sula. The family of Antonio, Lifeline’s director of church planting in Honduras, runs the coffee farm there and donates some of the proceeds to starting new churches.
Ryan is a timothy of PCC. He has served as a church planter in Florida and Scotland, but now serves as the Director of Church Planting for GO Ministries. He was hired in late 2016 to facilitate a church planting movement in the Caribbean. The goal of this movement, which was dreamt up by Dominican leaders, is to plant one thousand churches in ten years.
Ryan and his team are two years into this movement. They have already planted sixty-seven churches!
Our blog series, “Why Am I So…” explores the subject of our feelings. The salvation that Jesus came to bring us is comprehensive. He is working to save every part of who we are. He not only brings us forgiveness of sins, but he is working to transform/heal/set free each dimension of our personality—there is a psychology to redemption!
Once again, for many different people there are different reasons we feel angry. Nevertheless, there are still common threads in our human experience with anger, so let’s explore a few.
REASON #1 : We experience injustice.
I remember a time when I was in fourth grade playing kickball on the playground at school. As often happened on the sports field, tempers flared between classmates, and one of the boys started hitting one of the girls. He was quite a bit bigger than her, and when I saw that injustice happening, it tripped a trigger in me. I ran over and pulled that boy off of the girl and started fighting him. It is a natural human response to become angry at injustice.
I love superhero movies. I don’t think I’m alone, considering that the Marvel movies have made nearly $20 billion at the box office. It’s fun to think about what it would be like to fly like Superman, fight like Captain America, shoot webs like Spiderman, don a super suit like Iron Man, or have an endless supply of high-tech gadgets like Batman. But as fun as it is to dream about what life would be like as one of those superheroes, I think the most relatable superhero is one we haven’t mentioned.
I know what it feels like to be the Hulk.
“No, you don’t,” you’re thinking. “You’re 5’ 8” and 160 pounds. I’ve seen squirrels with more muscle than you.” Well, you’re right. I don’t know what it feels like to bench press a school bus or have my clothing shredded when I flex. But I do know what it feels like to get angry. Maybe you do, too.
When we think of addiction, we usually think of something that is inherently unhealthy: substance abuse, gossip, pornography, etc. But addiction reaches far beyond that. Let’s dig into a little psychology to understand why.
Humans frequently repress our desire for love because love makes us vulnerable to being hurt. We also do the same thing with our deepest longings for God. God does not always come to us in the pleasant ways we might expect, and so we repress our desire for God.
Melancholy, sadness, depression—have you experienced these on a regular basis? I have wrestled with these things for much of my life. There are many different reasons that people struggle with depression, but I want to tell you three threads that are true in my story, and maybe you will find some commonality and hope there.
Green grass, roaming sheep, and misty mountains. I had dreamed of visiting Ireland for many years. As I arrived in May of 2018, the beauty and the feeling of a new adventure coupled with anxiety and unfamiliarity. After many years of wanting to visit, here I was: struggling to shake the nerves away.
What you may not know about me is that I have been dealing with anxiety my whole life. I never knew what it was…I just assumed this is how everyone felt. When I realized it wasn’t, I knew I couldn’t stay locked up and fearful. I started counseling early in 2018 to find healthy ways to cope so I could live my healthiest life. Of course, I had already booked our trip to Ireland before counseling sessions were on the calendar. I knew that traveling was going to fill me with anxiety and all I could do was pray I could enjoy it and hope that it would be an opportunity to practice what I was learning.
When I was in college, I had a lot of friends that were international students. I loved spending time with them, learning about their culture, and introducing them to mine.
That was, in a large part, due to the influence of College Heights Christian Church, the church that I called home while I was in college. This church loved people from around the world and tried as hard as they could to welcome them and make them feel loved.
That was important. Statistics during that time showed that over seventy percent of international students never entered an American home and even less ever checked out a church service.
College Heights connected international students with American families, taught English to refugees, and took international students on camping trips, but the Goat Roast was always my favorite day of the year.